Viewing cable 08PARIS149
Title: MFA AND PRESIDENCY VIEWS ON COLOMBIAN HOSTAGE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08PARIS1492008-01-29 13:17:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
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id: 139121
date: 1/29/2008 13:17
refid: 08PARIS149
origin: Embassy Paris
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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header:
VZCZCXRO3911
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #0149/01 0291317
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291317Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1812
INFO RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 2056
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 0470
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 2010
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 1499
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0540
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 2762
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0079
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0045

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 000149 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2018 
TAGS: PREL PTER PHUM FR CO VZ SP SZ VT
SUBJECT: MFA AND PRESIDENCY VIEWS ON COLOMBIAN HOSTAGE 
NEGOTIATIONS FOLLOWING PRESIDENT URIBE'S JANUARY 21 VISIT 
TO PARIS 
 
REF: 08 BOGOTA 00267 
 
Classified By: POL M/C Josiah Rosenblatt for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY:  MFA A/S for the Americas Daniel Parfait 
described an uncertain way forward to secure the release of 
FARC hostages following the January 21 visit of Colombian 
President Uribe to France.  While a determined President 
Sarkozy continues to press the MFA for proposals to obtain 
Ingrid Betancourt's release, MFA specialists perceive a 
negotiated solution in large measure subject to the whims of 
an unpredictable FARC that is focused on self-preservation 
and continuing the drug trade.  During his one-day visit, 
Uribe met with Sarkozy and Ingrid Betancourt's family.  Uribe 
asked Sarkozy to support the Catholic Church's mediation and 
thanked the GOF for continuing to support keeping the FARC on 
the EU terrorist list.  Uribe also asked France, Spain and 
Switzerland to restart a European dialogue with the FARC; 
however, Parfait expressed doubt these discussions would be 
productive given their failure two years ago.  Parfait 
remains unsure of the best course of action to secure the 
release of the hostages, but does credit Hugo Chavez for 
securing the release of Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez as 
well as obtaining "proof of life" for Ingrid Betancourt and 
other hostages, the two achievements on the hostage front in 
recent years.  END SUMMARY 
 
HOSTAGES: URIBE'S PROPOSALS - SARKOZY PRESSES FOR A 
STRATEGY 
--------------------------------------------- --------------- 
 
¶2.  (C) Daniel Parfait, A/S-equivalent for the Americas, met 
EUR/WE Office Director Kathy Allegrone and Political Minister 
Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt on January 24.  Parfait credited 
Hugo Chavez with the November 30 "proof of life" and the 
January 10 release of Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez. 
When asked about next steps, Parfait said France supports 
Uribe's proposal for the Catholic Church to act as a 
negotiator.  He also noted that Uribe supports the resumption 
of the Swiss, Spanish, French mediation effort, but he is not 
optimistic that the unpredictable FARC will accept the 
proposal.  Damien Loras, Americas' Counselor to President 
Sarkozy told us on January 24 that the French are wary of 
Uribe's offer and believe he might support renewed Swiss, 
Spanish and French involvement to limit each country's 
ability to maneuver independently.  France also supports 
Brazil and Argentina playing an unspecified role to promote 
the release of the hostages.  Parfait acknowledged Sarkozy is 
singularly focused on the Betancourt hostage aspect of this 
issue, and Loras privately admitted that France has a 
"Betancourt problem" - Betancourt's value to the FARC rises 
as the media attention and international support for her 
increases.  In light of this political pressure, Sarkozy 
regularly presses the MFA to propose solutions; however, 
Parfait acknowledged that France cannot make offers until the 
FARC provide an idea of what concessions they want.  Parfait 
suggested the FARC's primary objective is to stay alive and 
to continue drug trafficking. 
 
¶3.  (C) While he had limited detail on the Uribe visit, 
Parfait described Hugo Chavez's proposal to remove the FARC 
from international terrorist lists as a "surprise."  After 
suffering international embarrassment when the EU flatly 
rejected the idea, Chavez privately walked back his 
suggestion and explained to Parfait during a January 13-14 
trip to Guatemala that he hoped the EU would consider the 
FARC "belligerents" and not "terrorists" if they freed 
hostages and stopped kidnapping.  France publicly rejected 
Chavez's suggestion as long as the FARC does not release its 
hostages.  Parfait clarified that France would consider 
Chavez's suggestion only if the FARC liberated hostages, 
stopped kidnapping, and began negotiations. 
 
VENEZUELA 
--------- 
¶4. (C)  Parfait welcomed Chavez's December 3 referendum loss 
as "the best thing" that could have happened to the country. 
He noted that Chavez's first response to the loss (acceptance 
of the vote) was constructive, but his secondary reaction 
(i.e. a call for a new referendum) has not been "as good." 
Parfait said Chavez's defeat offers the opposition an 
opportunity to strive towards greater internal organization 
to create better prospects for democracy in Venezuela.  Both 
 
PARIS 00000149  002 OF 002 
 
 
Parfait and Loras commented on Chavez's fascinating 
personality saying that he is able to adapt to audiences very 
easily and is politically savvy.  Parfait called the 
diplomatic row between Colombia and Venezuela as the worst in 
decades.  He expects Colombia's economy will suffer 
dramatically as a result. 
 
CUBA 
---- 
¶5. (C)  On Cuba issues, Parfait expects the GOF to continue 
to defer to Spain once France takes over the EU Presidency. 
During an August visit to Miami, Parfait was impressed by the 
thoughtful, pragmatic representatives of the Cuban-American 
community he met with.  He recommended that they meet with EU 
officials, probably on a visit to Brussels.  Such contact 
could help broaden and inform the EU point of view on Cuba. 
 
 
Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm 
 
 
PEKALA 

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